In the wilderness success demands vigilance and the right equipment some command the knights with uncanny eyesight some follow their noses some depend on speed stealth and lightning fast reflexes life in the wild is life during wartime.
And these soldiers are always on patrol geared up for their job as special forces we start our search for a first class patrol specialist in the scorching landscape of north america.
This punishing arizona desert is the proving ground for a survivor that's patrolled over the face of this planet for more than 400 million years scorpions these special forces prefer things hot but some carry on their missions through cold winters with no complaints.
wherever they go they're shielded by their thick armor or carapace their powerful pincers and venomous stinger assure they're always battle ready but when it comes to special ops their built-in navigation system really gives.
Them the edge scorpions on patrol navigate by the stars they gather more detailed information through chemical sampling smell and vibration detection on its patrol a hairy scorpion 15 centimeters long can travel up to an.
Impressive 100 meters in a single night though they're outfitted to take the heat these special forces move mainly at night to avoid the scorching sun and besides the cover of darkness and their night sky navigation system helps them get the job done.
a scorpion can have between 6 and 12 eyes on its back depending on the species and yet they don't see sharply their eyes are only sensitive to light's intensity some scientists believe that it's not just the eyes that pick up the light but.
The whole exoskeleton which might explain why these special forces glow in ultraviolet light for zeroing in on their target they get a boost from sensory hairs that pick up vibrations from several meters away this one is locked onto the tasty vibe of a silica jit a relative of a scorpion without the toxic tail.
The salifujin finishing its own meal unwisely approaches the patrolling scorpion triggering the scorpion's touch-sensitive hairs he receives a fatal sting moving to africa and the sandy desert of namibia will observe another series of scorpion patrol maneuvers.
this special forces female leaves her scent wherever she goes and the male tracks her with a pair of brush-like appendages called pectines on the underside of his body as he walks the male scorpion combs the.
Sand with his pectines sniffing for chemical clues females have pectines too but the males are longer and each tooth of the comb has more pegs to pick up scents when the male catches up to the female he uses his pectines to find a place to deposit his packet of sperm.
This persistent male has successfully tracked down a female now he has to woo her the courtship dance looks more like a battle and sometimes the male resorts to stinging the females several times during the ritual but when he's done he'll deliver his sperm and be on his way.
After this tiring mission he'll return to his base camp leaving the female to undertake the task of bringing up his offspring to draft the next member of our special forces patrol team we don't need to travel far every day across the vast plains of the.
African savannah countless life and death battles play out to make it out here takes a special set of skills in krueger national park in south africa a clan of ruthless predators have survival down to a science.
Spotted hyenas they're social they're smart and they patrol under a strict militaristic code of conduct to take down even formidable prey like any good special forces unit every soldier has a rank and knows his or her role the members distinguish each other by.
The spots on their coat each is unique like a fingerprint but the subtlety is just the starts of their visual prowess these patrollers have excellent night vision assuring a good hunt even when the sun goes down.
Because they work as a well-trained special forces unit they don't shy away from hunting big game like zebras and wildebeest the large herds of herbivores are especially vulnerable when the sharp-eyed hyenas staged their nighttime raids.
On the hunt spotted hyenas track their prey by sight sound and smell scent draws these special forces to the general area but they depend on eyesight once they lock on to their targets and move in for the kill it's all eyes on the prey from all directions waiting for the optimum moments to strike.
But how do they see so well in the dark a hyena on patrol uses built-in night vision goggles a layer of tissue called topedan lucidum reflects light back through the retina increasing the light available to the photoreceptors the topeda lucidum increases night vision by more than 40 percent.
While their prey sees total darkness the hyenas see their target in range when the target is locked the hyenas don't give up they chase and torment their prey to the very end the exhausted wildebeest finds herself surrounded and outnumbered by the predators.
Mission accomplished large prey is usually eaten on the spots gobbled down before any competitors show up but the hyenas night vision optics aren't perfect sometimes they give the game away by reflecting and magnifying light the topetum lucidum sometimes shines back flashes in the dark alerting the prey.
Even so by then it's too late not all hyenas have the benefit of the clan some are outcasts loners forced to become thieves and scavengers unable to hunt big game he relies on his night vision to patrol for small prey or his sense of smell to find carrion tonight he's crashing a honey badger dinner party.
living on smaller prey he must eat more often and during the day he employs another visual technique to fill his belly rather than patrolling the planes he scans the sky like flares vultures circling a carcass signal where he'll find his next meal.
Even without a clan the hyena's reputation as a special forces warrior precedes him all it takes is some aggressive posturing and the vultures surrender the spoils if the kill is large enough he can eat up to one third of his body weight 15 or more kilos of meat and bones in one sitting.
From the parched african grassland we travel over the oceans to the woodlands of europe here in the forests thrives another member of the special forces night time patrol one that may even be surveilling your own backyard in england we're about to gather.
Intelligence on one of these soldiers in the midst of his crucial mission in his search for a mate we find the hedgehog these spiky miniature armored tanks are favored in people's yards because of their search and destroy tactics on garden pests.
they gather most of their patrol information through sharp hearing and superb sense of smell they patrol with their warm and moist snouts only a few millimeters from the soil calibrated for the faintest aroma.
these special forces can smell their prey from a distance of 11 meters above ground or four centimeters underground the vomero nasal organ on their palate works in conjunction with their nose to detect more smells.
That's paying off well for this soldier his patrol has uncovered a small dead bird the hedgehog could eat about 70 grams of food every night which is more than 10 of his body weight when the sun goes down these special.
Forces begin their patrol in fact they sleep for most of the day either in their bunkers or tucked in a tight defensive ball this little fellow is out to make love not war he's scouting for a mate in the dead of night his range might span 20 hectares or more and he'll sniff every.
Centimeter to find her smells are picked up by their long snout with a large moist tip called rinarium the smell is transported to the well-developed olfactory lobes at the front side of his brain compared to humans hedgehogs are sense of smell geniuses our factory bulb makes.
Up only one percent of our brain while the hedgehogs makes up almost 10 percent thanks to these adaptations they smell at a distance and there she is waking up in her burrow her range overlaps the males she's heading out to forage she can patrol up to two kilometers in a single.
Night driven by the urge to mate the male won't give up until he completes his mission their encounter is inevitable not just because of proximity but because of scent both special forces agents are.
Outfitted with scent glands the male is about to deploy strong smelling urine as a courtship pheromone once they meet the hedgehog roundabout begins he'll circle for hours depositing a urine-like substance that keeps her in the courtship area he'll mate with her several times to be sure he accomplishes.
His reproductive goal mission accomplished when they're done these tiny trackers will return to their solitary lifestyles leaving the woods of europe we track our next special forces patrol experts to the great white north.
Here in canada's snow-covered forests we search for a hunter who's swift and silent and practically all seeing in these thick woodlands the target of our quest has probably spotted us first and when night falls our hunter is truly in her element.
Nature has bestowed the great grey owl with some of the sharpest vision in the animal kingdom her wide front-facing eyes give her broad binocular vision and enviable depth perception for patrolling but like most birds she can't move her eyeballs so instead she turns her whole.
Head with a neck like a turret she can rotate her head an astonishing 270 degrees though her eyes are her main patrol tool her mission begins with her ears her hearing is so acute she can hear a beetle at 30 meters or a mouse squeak almost a kilometer away.
Sound then vision target locked and never out of her sight deep snow shields this lemming from an owl attack but it better not get too confident the surface offers no place to hide from the special forces.
The owl's fringed feathers let her fly and glide in absolute silence her eyes like a hyenas have a topedum lucidum boosting her night vision so she gets what she came for and carries it to her perch.
the field of vision for an owl is about 110 degrees with about 70 degrees of overlap for seeing 3d this is much lower than even our own field of vision but the owl's large eyes which comprise up to five percent of their body weight are more efficient especially in low light their eyeballs.
Are actually cylinder shaped held firmly in the skull the narrow field division is more than made up for when the owl rotates her head even though owl's eyes evolved for night patrol their sensitive pupils allowed them to see well in daylight too one.
Thing that owls don't see well is color instead these special forces focus on motion sometimes patrolling is a day and night affair as a mother owl provides for her chick the mother might eat as many as seven small rodents a day and she'll need more to satisfy her little one.
When she spies a chipmunk her mission is clear though not for the chipmunk like a stealth bomber she swoops in before he can even react the outlet waits patiently till she brings the food to him watching and learning despite their highly evolved vision and.
Stealth only about half their outlets grow to be special forces like their parents which only goes to show in nature as in everything having the right tools for the job is not enough it also takes talent our next nominee for special forces patrol can fit in a teacup but is a.
Lethal assassin nonetheless from the cold north american forests we fly halfway around the world to a hot zone the rain forests of australia a hotbed of predators that come in all sizes in daintree national park lurks a hunter that does not have to go far to take.
Down prey on patrol in the branches hardly seen the praying mantis though this tiny trooper doesn't look so tough at the moment she's smart enough to size up the enemy and know when to engage.
And when to call a truce she won't pick a fight she can't win mantives on patrol can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan surroundings with two big compound eyes flanking three simpler eyes unusual for insects she has stereoscopic vision.
The mantid's compound eyes are like clusters of thousands of smaller eyes called amateuri the dark spot on each eye isn't really a pupil but omatini that absorb light rather than reflect it though she's only a few centimeters long she can spot her prey from 15 meters.
Away once these special forces lock their targets they either stalk their prey or like this one wait for the prey to come to them when it's within three centimeters the mantis pounces.
She deploys her spiky front legs snaring her prey faster than the naked eye can see but now let's take a closer look into those super sharp eyes mantises have stereo vision their compound eyes contain up to ten thousand ohmatite only the center of this compound eye an.
Area called bufovia sees sharply the rest of the eye picks up motion and when it does the mantis turns its head and locks on to draw a bead with the fovea the mantis immobilizes its prey with her.
Legs like bayonets and eats it alive any smaller insect is fair game for these patrollers most species of praying mantis females eat their mates males outnumber females but not for long there are 16 families of mantids with over 2400 species all of these special.
Forces share the ability to see yet not be seen sometimes members of the same species can look different they can be brown or green depending on their stage of development and where they're secretly patrolling in this jungle zone it's all about camouflage.
if a mantis lives in grass or leaves you might never see her if she's among the branches or hunting on the ground she's equally invisible some species can even mimic flower petals but these special forces don't get to.
Choose their uniform it comes standard issue unlike chameleons that can change color constantly mantises do it only when they molt so they have to hide in the environment they best resemble young mantises will molt as many as nine times before becoming adults after that their color stays the same.
By then they've become expert assassins tuned to their environments always focused on their secret special forces mission never losing sight of what they're patrolling for and well-equipped to grab it from the island continent of australia we cross the pacific to arrive in a much smaller tropical paradise where terrors.
Also on patrol on this remote island a rule of nature seems to be turned on its head and evolution has transformed a spineless creature into an unlikely special forces assassin in the rainforest of the hawaiian island of oahu a devoted plant eater has developed a craving for flesh and.
Conducts guerrilla warfare against his prey lurking among the branches and leaves we find the eupatheticia caterpillar all over the world thousands of this genus of caterpillar are devoted vegetarians but not here the eupathetia is the only ambush predator caterpillar evolution has equipped this special.
Forces patrol experts with a hair trigger sense of touch that deploys her sharp practically inescapable claws she has six pairs of simple eyes that can see lights and maybe color but no images but they're practically an afterthought compared to her touch-sensitive skin.
fortune favors the well-prepared and this cunning larva has done her homework first she selects her ambush spot and fastens herself to a leaf and once in place it's time to get to work.
For the carnivorous eupythesia foliage is strictly a construction material she can't digest leaves and would starve to death rather than eat them by trimming off the edge of the leaf she's making a foxhole to hide in and launch her attack.
She just needs to patrol patiently this tiny terrorist doesn't care who she kills any small insect or spider will do and the forest has no shortage of them but there's one tasty target that's particularly abundant fruit flies this one suspects nothing she has no clue she stepped into a.
Minefield of eupythesia the prey is doomed the incident merely brushes against one of the special forces minuscule sensitive hairs or site on its back the caterpillar springs backward snatches the prey with her thoraxic legs or flings the victim into the air in the.
Same instant the caterpillar snaps back to her original position the entire strike takes about 1 12th of a second faster than the blink of an eye hawaii has about six purely carnivorous species out of the 20 epithelia that live on the islands.
some of these special forces instead of hiding on a leaf camouflage themselves as twigs but they're just as deadly so no matter how they patrol as.
Caterpillars one thing is certain when they eventually turn into moths the war is over as soon as they earn their wings they'll never touch meat again an ambush predator has its place in the thick jungles of hawaii our next special forces soldiers prefer aerial assault.
For intercepting fast flying targets we head to africa to enlist a squadron of airborne aces this air force is stationed on riverbanks throughout the continent patrolling the sky is where we'll find.
The bee eater his name says it all bees as well as wasps and other flying insects are all in his flight plan his perfect sight and high speed maneuverability provide a tactical advantage allowing him to pluck his prey.
On the wing colonies of bee-eaters nest in burrows in the riverbanks strategically close to their targets where there's water there are plants and plants bring the bees.
These are returning to their nest in the nearby acacia tree they have no clue they are under surveillance by special forces a bee eater zeroes in on a single target and won't let it leave his sight target acquired the chase begins.
so this bird's flight suit simplifies his task starting with his flight goggles the black striper on his eyes worked.
Like sunglasses to cut glare his eyes are geared for long range and short range reconnaissance some species of bee eater can patrol prey from as far as 100 meters the bird's eyes have two fovea or areas of concentrated vision one sees distance but only in 2d.
As he gets closer a slight turn of the head engages the second fovea for sharp stereoscopic 3d vision as he swoops in to make the kill when he's intercepted his prey he takes it to his perch to dispatch it if his captive has a venomous stinger he deftly disarms it with a brisk beating.
This carmine bee eater like all the eaters swallows its prey whole mission complete the bird returns to special forces headquarters but the bee eaters aren't the only warriors patrolling this airspace an african fish eagle a sworn rival.
Won't hesitate to start an air fight he'll have to catch one first bee eaters retinas and perhaps their brains process information even faster than humans that's what makes these special forces agile in catching prey and avoiding becoming prey these bee-eaters part-stunt pilot part.
Ninja outmaneuver the eagle and live to fly another day while bee eaters use speed and vision to patrol their realm this next elite special forces recruit relies on subtlety and deception he performs his wet ops below the surface where the situation isn't as.
Calm as it appears the wetlands and canals of florida are home to this north american ambush specialist where stealthily silently lurks the alligator snapping turtle.
With his tank-like armor he looks as if he's more suited to defense than offense but don't be fooled with his keen senses of smell vision and touch he's a triple threat he just needs to pick a good spot to patrol.
his rations include anything that crosses his path including fish reptiles small rodents and carrion but it's these larvae loving gambucia fish that he's best equipped for 40 million years of evolution have provided him with a secret weapon inconspicuous on the river bottom he.
Closes in on his prey by sampling molecules in the water he's guided by his keen sense of taste and smell once in visual range he settles in and waits he opens his mouth and the trap is set the gambucia can't resist the larvae-shaped appendage dabbling on the tip of the turtle's tongue he has the.
Fish just where he wants it the turtle doesn't have to think about it or even see the fish the slightest touch by the fish triggers a reflex the turtle snaps down and swallows it in a fraction of a second his jaws are powerful enough to smash another turtle's shell.
And that's not just collateral damage one study showed that 80 of alligators snapping turtles had turtle shell fragments in their guts you don't want to cross these commandos these special forces swallow the prey whole reset the trap and patrol for more.
But despite his superior weaponry the alligator snapping turtle is under siege and dying out as his habitat disappears it's a fate the alligator snapping turtle doesn't share with his very distant cousin the common snapping turtle who often employs a different patrol strategy the common snapping turtle stalks by.
Sight he spotted a cicada near his strike zone he inches closer under the radar like a submarine to catch the insect unaware he calculates the distance with his periscope eyes and once in range strikes lacking the tricky trap in his mouth the common snapper has to rely on good.
Old-fashioned stealth and keem vision but both special forces snappers are equipped to patrol their ranges and accomplish their missions efficiently and ruthlessly it's the common snapping turtles great sensory tool kit precision timing active.
Pursuit tactics and better temperature tolerance that allows them unlike the alligator snapping turtles to thrive when darkness settles in the night patrol reports for duty perfectly attuned to the gloom using starlight to navigate the scorpion scurries over his rage.
as he goes he gathers more detailed intelligence from vibrations and smells across the desert floor hyenas patrolling at pax never miss an opportunity and seldom lose sight of their target their jaws get the work done but it's.
Their remarkable reflective eyes that guide them with equal dedication to his task the hedgehog will pursue his mate over three kilometers he doesn't need to see in the dark because his nose does all the work.
owls masters of silent aerial patrol rely first on their hearing locking onto their rodent targets from up to a kilometer away and once that target is in visual range the owl never loses sight of it their specialized tube-like eyes give them an excellent field of vision and.
Pinpoint depth perception the ultimate patrol tool is invisibility and some creatures come close to achieving it the praying mantis blends right in seeing all but not being seen she exploits her rare power of 3d insect vision thanks to her oversized compound.
Eyes the eupythesia caterpillar equally deadly relies on touch a fruit fly triggering one of their sea tie is doomed in the 12th of a second and the alligator snapping turtle gets rewarded for her patience deploying her secret weapon to snatch any prey that takes the bait.
for some patience is a virtue others rely on speed that's the bee eater able to spot its tiny fast-moving prey at 100 meters lock on and chase it down these are the masters of patrol and pursuits each is equipped with features at the top of their class to nail their targets efficiently and effectively.
When they report for duty the job is as good as done you